IPL: Kolkata Knight Riders seek to continue winning run vs Delhi Daredevils | ipl 2017 | Hindustan Times
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IPL: Kolkata Knight Riders seek to continue winning run vs Delhi Daredevils

Kolkata Knight Riders, who currently top the IPL 2017 standings with 12 points from eight games, will take on Delhi Daredevils in what is expected to be a pace-friendly track at the Eden Gardens.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 28, 2017 11:11 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders currently top the IPL 2017 standings with 12 points from eight games. They will play Delhi Daredevils at Eden Gardens on Friday.
Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders currently top the IPL 2017 standings with 12 points from eight games. They will play Delhi Daredevils at Eden Gardens on Friday.(AP)

Had this not been a home game, the best way to stop Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) would have been at the airport.

True, fortunes change in T20 in a matter of deliveries and Kolkata Knight Riders have shown streaks of vulnerability but they have managed to finish on the right side in six of the eight games in IPL10. It could have been seven out of eight had KKR not fluffed their lines in Mumbai.

(Read | Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir knocks power Kolkata Knight Riders to 7-wicket win vs Rising Pune Supergiant)

After Wednesday night’s convincing win away to Rising Pune Super Giant, KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir said no target is beyond reach. His partner in that successful run chase, Robin Uthappa, said he doesn’t need the cushion of the power play anymore.

And after cleaning up Royal Challengers Bangalore in 9.4 overs using only pace, the Knights’ spinners took four of the five wickets against Steve Smith’s side; Umesh Yadav getting a wicket off the innings’ last ball. Yes, the odd catch continues to be dropped but if KKR and Mumbai Indians have a three-point gap with the rest, it is because they look the most balanced of the teams.

“Irrespective of the wicket, I think we have a proper balance in the bowling attack….And our batting is clicking,” was how Parthiv Patel explained Mumbai Indians’ run. He could have been speaking of KKR.

(Read | Zaheer Khan says Delhi Daredevils’ next five games in IPL 2017 will be crucial)

“It’s a very good challenge,” said Delhi Daredevils’ skipper Zaheer Khan when asked about the Knight juggernaut that seems unstoppable. Delhi Daredevils lost thrice to KKR in 2012 and should KKR win on Friday, it would be a repeat of the 2015 ‘double.’

(Read | Gautam Gambhir to bear education expenses of slain CRPF men’s children)

The Knights returned from Pune early on Thursday and had optional training. Rested for Wednesday’s game, Nathan Coulter-Nile lapped around Eden and it will have to be seen whether the big Australian plays on a wicket looking greener than usual.

Pace could be key

“I should congratulate Sourav Ganguly for this. The wicket is looking very good and everyone is excited as a group,” said Khan.

With Chris Morris, Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada, Mohammed Shami, Angelo Mathews and Khan, Delhi Daredevils have a pace attack of substance. As do the Knights for whom Umesh Yadav is on song and Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme took three wickets each when they played here last after Coulter-Nile set the tone.

It was the loss against KKR that sent Delhi Daredevils on a three-match losing run. Three of their four losses have come while chasing so it could be interesting to see how the visiting team reacts if they win the toss at a venue where teams batting second have fared better and where the dew is a factor and the forecast is of rain.